Salima Sugar Company has produced about 200 metric tonnes of sugar during the first week of testing the machines, a development company officials say signifies good prospects.
The company has on several occasions postponed testing the machines because of some technical challenges.
For the past three weeks, truckloads of sugarcane have been seen going to the factory from Dwangwa bringing cane ready for producing sugar.
The factory is part of the Green Belt Initiative (GBI) in which Indian investors have 60 percent stake with the remaining held by the Malawi Government.
GBI acting coordinator Henri Njoloma and officials from the company confirmed that testing of the machines has started on a positive note despite facing some few challenges.
Said Njoloma: “Despite the fact that we do not have our own sugarcane, we have managed to produce about 200 metric tonnes (MT) of sugar in one and half weeks.
“There were several challenges which affected the commissioning of the machines and one of them was lack of sugar cane in our field, but we hope that in two years time, we will have our own cane. During testing, some challenges cropped up, but they will be dealt with once we report to the manufacturer of the machines in India.”
He said currently, the boiler is down, but will be fixed soon while the raw water osmosis was not working efficiently but is also being looked at.
“The sugar that we have produced will be sold, but what needs to be worked on is the pricing structure. The good thing is that the Malawi Bureau of Standards [MBS] has already given us a pre-certification which means that the product is good. We will fix our prices more or less like Illovo Sugar [Malawi] Limited products,” said Njoloma.
The Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE)-listed Illovo has been the sole manufacturer of sugar in the country.
A statement from the Salima Sugar Company seen by Business News said on Monday, despite facing several challenges officials at the company were excited that crushing of cane and production of sugar has started in earnest.
Reads part of the statement: “Despite facing several challenges and problems due to incomplete small but critical works in commissioning the plant, we have succeeded to commence testing. We are crushing cane and sugar is being produced.”
The company said its investment partner M/S Ulka Industries Limited has deployed 120 engineers and supervisors from India to complete the pending works and sort out all the challenges.
Salima Sugar Company has also set aside about K1.5 billion to purchase sugar cane from farmers in Dwangwa and has also created employment for about 200 people.